Lichfields the Planning Consultancy issued just before Christmas a short summary on the finalisation of the London Plan.
What happens in London does affect Guildford and two aspects are worth highlighting
Changes requested by the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) require the Mayor to dilute his 2016 manifesto pledge to protect London’s Green Belt and MOL; some outer London Boroughs may now find themselves under pressure to release Green Belt in order to meet the new housing targets.
More ambitious boroughs may consider the release of sites in sustainable locations that do not perform well against the NPPF’s criteria for designation.
The Secretary of State also called for amendments to Policy D9 regarding tall buildings. The effect is a lower default threshold definition for tall buildings where no local definition is in place, reducing it from 25m in height in the Thames Policy Area and 30m in height elsewhere in London, to just 6 storeys or 18 metres across the entire Greater London area.
Essentially, unless a higher threshold has been set locally, the Plan’s tall buildings policy will be engaged for any proposals over 6 storeys tall, providing greater control over such development proposed in lower to mid-rise areas of London where local Plans are silent on the height threshold.
The accompanying letter from the SoS acknowledged that there “is clearly a place for tall buildings in London, especially where there are existing clusters. However, there are some areas where tall buildings don’t reflect the local character”.
It should be noted that London has several hundred tall buildings in the planning system.
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We want our town to be vibrant, attractive and liveable. We support development that brings a sense of place and enhances the best aspects of our town. If such aims can be embraced, we believe Guildford has the chance to lead the way in enabling sensitive and sustainable development.
Pressures for development are increasing. Planning rules are being eased. The Society’s commitment to standing up for Guildford is needed more than ever.
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